Clause 96 - Gifts of real property to charity

Part of Finance Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:00 pm on 13th June 2002.

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Photo of John Healey John Healey The Economic Secretary to the Treasury 4:00 pm, 13th June 2002

The provisions in section 25 of the Finance Act 1990 and section 339 of the Taxes Act 1988 are concerned solely with gifts of money. Effectively, the restriction that the amendment seeks to modify is intended to prevent the relief being used to make non-monetary gifts under gift aid. The amendment seeks to disapply the restriction in cases in which the property could have been gifted under section 587B of the 1988 Act, which gives relief to donors on the market value of gifts of listed shares—as the hon. Gentleman pointed out—and, with the extension introduced in the clause, land and buildings.

Relief is given under gift aid on readily identifiable cash sums. Relief under section 587B is given on the market value of the gift of the qualifying investment. Our aim with reliefs for charitable giving is to give sufficient incentive to donors to maximise the benefits that flow to charities. Removing the restriction in the gift aid provisions would open up opportunities to manipulate the relief so that the benefits of the relief flowed to the donor rather than, as intended, the charity.

I am aware that one of the representative bodies suggested that section 25 prevents a donor from selling a property to a charity and then donating the proceeds under gift aid. For the sake of clarity, I confirm that that is not a problem, provided the sale is at arm's length and there is no prior condition or arrangement to the effect that the donor will give all or part of the proceeds of the sale to the charity. The restriction is not intended to prevent innocent transactions but manipulation of the reliefs.

It is right that gift aid should continue to apply to unconditional gifts of money and not be opened up to conditional payments that are not pure gifts. Therefore, I hope that the hon. Gentleman will withdraw the amendment. If he will not, I ask the Committee to reject it.